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Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

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London, United...
posts: 4
Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

Hello, I am looking to intern for two months with a studio located on S.Spring street, downtown LA, in the summer. I found a possible place on S.Hewitt Street, and assumed I could walk to and from my internship place.

But I wanted to find out if S Hewitt St safe? It's based in Little Tokyo, but its also near to Skid Row which I was worried about.

I am a female student from London UK traveling alone.

Am I better off looking at other areas near s. spring street?

The residence is budget friendly, and I thought the area was a little similar to the mission district in San Francisco (where I have stayed also) but I could be totally misguided by my impressions!

Any advice is appreciated!!!

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 37,261
reviews: 347
1. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

If you were a single male, I'd say S Hewitt was fine. I am less sure recommending it for a single female, but it depends a bit on the exact address. S Hewitt and 2nd St MIGHT be okay.

But I think Spring St might be as bad or worse, again depending on exactly which building it is.

Where is your internship located? (cross streets)

Here is a decent source/resource for reference.

http://fidm.edu/en/Admissions/Housing/Independent+Housing/ (it won't hyper link so just copy & paste)

Edited: 10:49 am, January 03, 2013
Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
posts: 21,661
reviews: 24
2. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

Spring Street is where all the galleries, restaurants, bars and converted lofts/condos are located - meaning it's safe and hip. As long as it's in the area of 8th-3rd.

London, United...
posts: 4
3. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?


Thank you for replying. The link is really useful - will research.

The internship is based between W 4th and W3rd st on S Spring St.

The residence I found is between East 1st St and East 2nd St on S Hewitt St.

I 'm getting the impression I should find another place to stay, but the location of internship at S Spring st should be ok?

Edited: 11:37 am, January 03, 2013
West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 25,497
reviews: 51
4. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

I wouldn't do it if you were walking after dark. FYI, downtown L.A. is not on the par with downtown San Francisco so whereas a walk of a few blocks from the mission district will get you to Market Street and then Union Square, our downtown area is much more spread out and much of it is not that interesting or is undesirable.

Due to the renaissance that our downtown is experiencing, there are 2 types of neighborhoods -- older, neglected ones that are cheap to live in and newer rebuilt ones which are expensive. If you have some initiative, you might be able to find a place in a newer area that is empty (hasn't sold or been rented yet) and stay there for a couple of months but since you're looking for something with furniture, unless you find a furnished model in a new building, it's unlikely you'll find something that suitable.

Staying in downtown without a car is a bit of an inconvenience. Retail is still relatively sparse and nightlife is not concentrated but, instead, is scattered into specific areas, e.g. Little Tokyo which, in this case, is within walking distance.

Have you considered staying in Hollywood? The walk you've mentioned above would take 18 minutes. The red line (metro rail) ride from Hollywood & Highland station in Hollywood to Pershing Square Station (near your internship) also takes 18 minutes and if you stayed in the eastern part of Hollywood (like near the Sunset Bl & Western Av station, the ride would be only 11 minutes.

Hollywood is more interesting at night and is well-lit. The entertainment is in one steady flow along Hollywood Bl (with some spillover onto adjacent streets). There are buses and the metro rail running all night.

I don't know how much money you were looking to pay but, for example, the USA Hostel is less than a block from the Walk of Fame and a 9 minute walk to the red line station at Hollywood & Vine (closer to downtown than Hollywood & Highland).

Here's a map of the walk from the hostel to the red line station http://mapq.st/ZhdgSu:

Here's the hostel's link: usahostels.com/hollywood/index.html?lang=10

and reviews of the hostel on Tripadvisor (link and SCROLL DOWN for the reviews): tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32655-d119374-…

It's also a 10-minute walk to Hollywood & Highland -- the very center of Hollywood. Rooms at the hostel are as follows: $42 per night. There is a 14-day limit on your stay at this hostel, however.

Have you looked at Flipkey.com, VRBO.com or Craigslist.com for a holiday rental?

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 37,261
reviews: 347
5. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

Good idea from HSJ about using the subway, that opens you up to Hollywood, the N. Vermont area of Los Feliz and even Culver City.

Rancho Santa...
posts: 6,094
reviews: 9
6. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

I lived downtown for over a decade. Originally, I lived on Spring between 6th & 7th. Later, I moved to Third & Broadway. Finally, to 9th & Broadway. Near the end of our time downtown, I drove past here regularly on Second Street because I needed to drive under First Street before it crossed the L.A. River.


The location you refer to adjacent to Little Tokyo and the Arts District. Across Alameda at First and Second is Little Tokyo. South of First is the Arts District.

Ten years ago this was decaying light industry and warehouses and a sprinkling of Buddhist temples and one Japanese Catholic parish. It was also the northern part of the Arts District which is was/is centered on Traction Street. So I assume there used to be true artist loft in the various properties. A block south at Hewitt & Traction was the epicenter of the Arts District -- Al Bar. Now long departed. I recall coming here in the early 90's when I was young and foolish and it was clearly dangerous territory, which of course, was part of the charm. Who could forget, "Tip or Die"?


This area of the Arts District has seen a lot of development. Serious money has poured into those blocks bound by Alameda and First Streets to the southeast. This very corner is now occupied by a single large and totally modern apartment complex. I recall other smaller properties. I was impressed with the smaller ones along Second. Some had very nice tiny yards with street access. It briefly appealed to me at the time in an impractical way.

I never "got" the Arts District. It always struck me as an insular place. I remember trying restaurants and what not and nothing ever stuck. I sense there's a lot of money there now (i.e. it ain't cheap). There's also a specific glamour to it. I think Christopher Hawthorne nailed it a few years ago.


The more I think about and look at street images on Google, the more inclined I am to say it is safe. Looks very nice to me. Little Tokyo is right across Alameda. It is a lively and compact neighborhood with excellent restaurants, bars and some interesting retail. The Gold Line station is right there. Union Station and the Red Line are north up Alameda across the 101 freeway. (Take the Gold Line. It is a short and unpleasant walk.) Nearby is my beloved Philippe's. I can't comment on the Arts District which remains a cipher to me. I sense you'll find it easier than me to navigate its social geography.

Is it safe? In the bad old days circa 1993, it was damn dangerous. Visits to Al's Bar saw the streets with plenty of unsavory characters. Random violence and crime were prevalent and physical decay clearly visible. Now, I sense the neighborhood is quite quiet in a "good night" way. Not any real street life. But, not any of the bad stuff either. Oh, there are some very good restaurants. I'm sure there are lively activities behind closed doors. But, understand that privacy is a large part of L.A. At this time, I doubt there is the clear danger that existed before.

If you decided to live there (which I think is reasonable, particularly if the price is right), it would be a little over a mile's walk to the gallery on Spring Street. A nice walk, too. I'd take First or Second across to Spring Steet and walk down Spring Street. Spring and Main are transformed streets. When I moved onto Spring in the late 90's, it was totally dead at nights and dingy during the daytime. Main was dangerous. Now, both are filled with lofts and shops and restaurants. Recently, I noted there is a Starbucks open on Spring Street at 4th or 5th or 6th. I can't remember. That's a huge change. Sure, there's plenty of the old grit. But, it is night and day by comparison for the better.

Now is it safe for you? I don't know. I don't know what kind of street-smarts you have. But, I assume you've been to big cities before. L.A. is much safer than London or Paris. Crime in L.A. and downtown in particular are at historic lows. The only rising stats are for petty theft. The bad old days of pre-1993 are long gone. Obviously, as a woman you need to be vigilant and sensible. But, that's an issue of risk you have to evaluate and take action on. A cab would be sensible on very late nights.

Personally, I'm skeptical of commuting into downtown from Hollywood. If you're working downtown, it makes sense to live nearby for simplicity and to get the full effect of downtown. If you like urban spaces, you'll love downtown L.A.

Here's a quick recent list of stuff to see and do downtown.


And some thoughts on downtown circa 2010.


Let us know what you decide and how it goes. Good luck on your adventure.


London, United...
posts: 4
7. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

Hello again,

Thank you very much for all this information. It is extremely helpful for me to work out what I want to do.

The residence in Hewitt St is budget friendly. I read recent reviews for the place on AirBnB which had positive reviews about the residence and the location (i.e it was ok to stay in, not amazing but nothing bad happened)

So i do wonder about whether I should take the risk. If other people men and women have stayed at Hewitt st with relative ease then maybe I could be fine if I keep my head down.

On the other hand I do want to feel safe and not terrified coming home late in the evening for example!

But I did not consider looking at Hollywood and commuting in. That is another lead I am going to try and research.

Another friend suggested I try Silver Lake and Echo Park, but from first research I don't think they are served by any metro lines?

I'm also try USC guest housing and FIDM and see if they can offer something for two months. I expect these options to be expensive but lets see.

Hopefully I can find something. I do want to visit LA!

Rancho Santa...
posts: 6,094
reviews: 9
8. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

"it was ok to stay in, not amazing but nothing bad happened"

This is basically what I figured. The key to these reviews is did the reviewers actually walk a block and cross Alameda to Little Tokyo. Little Tokyo is lively well into the evenings. Main and Spring are also lively in the evenings. My hunch is they never explored that far.

I think the walk through Little Tokyo and the Historic Core is fine at most hours. If you walk across First Street to Spring, you want past LAPD's HQ (a very beautiful building, I might add). I'd check with your prospective employer about safety issues, which the more I think about it, are overstated.

One detail is you're looking at a summer residence. It will be hot in downtown, particularly in late summer. I always enjoyed the heat. You may not. One option which occurred to me is the Culver City area. This has direct rail access to downtown via the Expo Line. Given it is on the westside, it will be cooler. Moreover, the beach is a straight shot by bus down Venice. Culver City has a lively little downtown with restaurants and galleries. Still, I'm wary of any location outside of downtown because of the commute factor. I think commute time should be kept to a minimum. With only two months, it is to be avoided. As a former resident, I disagree with the assessment there's insufficient retail. Indeed, the situation has only improved since I left.


Rancho Santa...
posts: 6,094
reviews: 9
9. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

You might find this to be a useful tool.


Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 15,152
reviews: 58
10. Re: Is S.Hewitt St a safe area to stay in for two months?

Correct, neither Echo Park or Silverlake have any Metro (subway or train) stations. To get downtown from either, you'd need to use a bus. Echo Park will be more budget friendly, but isn't as nice an area as Silverlake, which is somewhat trendy.

I'd also echo the suggestion of Culver City, if you can find something there in your price range.